Ongoing Book Review: The Storytelling School Handbook for Teachers (part 2)

This is part two of an ongoing review, written by the lovely adventureswithmonsters on her blog.

The Storytelling School Handbook for Teachers by Chris Smith PhD and Adam Guillian (with foreword by Pie Corbett)

What’s it all about?…


The approach begins at Foundation stage (children of 3 years and upwards) and applies up to ‘Key Stage 2′ (children of 11 years) as already mentioned in our case this equates to me as ‘Teacher’ and Bundle Number One (who is nearly 4 years old) as ‘Class’

The handbook focuses on the ‘core principle’  ‘…that telling stories is a great way to learn about language, communication and ideas…’

I especially like the fact that the approach enables teachers (in this case mum!) to utilise storytelling as a means of introducing a wide range of themes. This resonated with me because here in Monster House, we are already finding that, Bundle Number One in particular responds far more favourably to an imaginative, ‘story based’ approach when learning and, as a result, tend to use stories featuring favourite characters, including people, animals creatures and so on to illustrate key concepts.(as well as a very useful way of defusing potentially ‘explosive’ situations such as tidy up time!) .


The book suggests relevant stories could be traditional tales; biographic tales; historical tales; or a chosen narrative which can be told as an interesting story.

The idea is then to use a ‘series of techniques’ to enable learning and telling of a chosen story using their own words, thus ‘internalising’ the language and content of said story. Following this, there are many possibilities for ‘deepening activities’

In a school setting the idea is to have literacy/story coordinators working with storytellers towards the goal of developing a ‘story curriculum’ deciding upon a series of stories for each age group to learn. In Storytelling Schools, ‘a minimum of 15 minutes per day or an equivalent time per week is allocated (…for storytelling)’ Teachers are then expected to work from these chosen, learned stories throughout the curriculum.

The benefits of the approach are stated to include the following areas:

  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Confidence
  • Appreciation
  • Inquisiteveness and questioning
  • Subject learning
  • Memory and sequencing
  • Autonomy
  • Rehersals for life
  •  (my personal favourite!) Wonder and magic
  • Which I’m sure you will agree is an impressive list!

Coming up

So, the next step was for me to explore the ‘Key features’ of this approach and then learn a story to tell Bundle Number One…

Buy the book here…

Read the original post here…